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Anybody thinking of a return to quill stems?(29 posts)

Anybody thinking of a return to quill stems?Alex-in-Evanston
Jul 9, 2002 6:33 AM
It seems as if nobody accepts the fact that if you want a clean threadless setup, you have to buy your frame one size up. The stem stack in the photo below, which we all agree is not very pleasing to the eye, puts the bars about where they would be with a quill stem. If that guy wanted no spacers, he'd probably have to go up TWO frame sizes. Where would that put his crotch? Would there be enough standover? If you want a few inches of standover, doesn't the stem/bar interface have to be one or two inches above the top tube?

The battle between the desire for lots of standover/enormous seatposts and the need to be able to reach your bars has most folks in a full drop position on the hoods. I think threadless setups are mucking up road bike fit.

A few thoughts for this morning.

Generally I agreeMel Erickson
Jul 8, 2002 8:09 PM
and that's one reason why I still have a quill fork/stem on my road bike. Another is I have no reason to replace a perfectly good Look fork, and I'm cheap!

You can solve the problem with a compact frame but I just think they look dorky with that sloping top tube and huge amount of exposed seatpost, just an aesthetic thing to me. Take it for what it's worth coming from a guy who rides a Softride.
Never left 'em.SteveO
Jul 9, 2002 7:02 AM
I try to stay away from purchasing things simply for the sake of purchasing things.
Jul 9, 2002 7:04 AM
Some good points. While I'm not too fond of loads of spacers, a few don't bug me all that much. Indeed quill stems provide a far more graceful look. That said, the ease of swapping stems on a threadless is a considerable advantage in my view. I don't think I'd opt for a different frame size just to avoid the little devils.

To me, the sloping top tube is a prime culprit in the fit struggle. Also I just think they look kind of dumb. Anyone else think slope tubed bikes look slower just standing there?
It's actually more an aesthetic issue...elviento
Jul 9, 2002 7:15 AM
and don't use fit and functionality as excuses.

If you have 2.5cm of spacers, which I believe is within all carbon steerer forks' recommended number, and a typical 80 degree stem, you can have a range of 6cm (about 2.5") for stem height adjustment, by switching the spacers above or below, and flipping the stem. If your fork has aluminum steerer, then the adjustment is even greater.

Threadless set up is lighter and more solid (mine shaved 1.5lbs), there is no way I am going back.
Jul 9, 2002 7:28 AM
I always used to ride with my quill stem all the way down so I now ride with out any spacers. It must be that low areo position us triatheles love.
funny you mention that.....Spirito
Jul 9, 2002 7:58 AM
most prison inmates are aero without knowing it :-)

At the risk of being controversial, you guys sound like vain oldhuez
Jul 9, 2002 7:24 AM

Is it really that big a deal what your stem and spacers look like? Personally I like the looks better of the threaded type.

Threadless I think is much better than threaded.

1. You lose substantial weight.
2. Stem swaps are S I M P L E.
3. Headsets can be adjusted easily. (not that it too was hard)
4. You can carry a 5mm allen instead of two 12" headset wrenches.
5. Stiffer interface between bars and fork.
6. Light, stiff & beautiful stems! (not that looks matter! :))
7. Carbon steerers!
At further risk of being controversial....SteveO
Jul 9, 2002 7:33 AM
1. You lose substantial weight.

hardly 'substantial' (imo) for the average rider; and many racer's as well. Cheaper to lose a pound off my gut if i realllly needed to shave weight.

2. Stem swaps are S I M P L E.

how so more simple than a quill?

4. You can carry a 5mm allen instead of two 12" headset wrenches.
Why would one carry (or perhaps, who DOES carry) headset wrenches?

5. Stiffer interface between bars and fork.

This always seems to be the biggie; dont really know anyone who truly benefits (or even feels the differnce). I dont buy it, personally.
Cheaper to lose a pound off my gutelviento
Jul 9, 2002 7:50 AM
This argument starts to seem stale. We all know everything else being equal, a lighter bike is a better bike. Once you reach a certain fitness level, it's probably harder to lose an extra pound than coughing up $200 to drop a pound on the bike. Besides, if the bike starts with threadless setup, instead of switching from quill to threadless, there is no extra cost invovled whatsoever.

My threadless conversion dropped a lot of weight. Fork: 200+g, stem, 180g, headset, probably 10g...

Also a few other things, quill stems routinely get stuck in steerer unless serviced regularly. No such problem with thredless. Think about it, the wedge in a quill stem to achieve friction against the inside of steerer, is simply an inferior design.

If you manage to drop 15lbs, which I bet you can, you can now go to work with your desktop computer.
my point being...SteveO
Jul 9, 2002 8:08 AM
1. for MANY people, a lighter bike is NOT (necessarily) a better bike.

2. there are plennnty of places to lose weight. Carry less water; a smaller pump; lighter shoes; no helmet, shorten the chain, no spare tube, no socks,

these are all things (most of us) neglect, but all add to weight; so whats the extra 1/2 pound stem really doing for you unless you consider the whole package. Minutia

Ive been using quills for 33 years; never had one stuck in the steerer. Also never experienced any ramifications of their 'inferior' design.

Im not knockin the stems; theyre certainly not LESS worthy than a quill, i just dont buy the market hype.
I guess quills are for old stubborn guys that like heavy bikes.huez
Jul 9, 2002 2:07 PM
Lighter is better for everyone. How could weight be an advantage if the stiffness is the same or greater on the lighter bike???

Yes, you can move your stem up on a ride with a quill.

Yes, you can move your stem up on a ride with threadless albeit a tad slower.

You can not adjust your headset proplerly with threaded while riding

It is not hype!! Its just an improvement. Period.

For some guys, quills are better. But its a VERY small market. ANd I would guess its older guys.

DOnt get me wrong, I like old guys a lot, heck I'll be one sooner than I would hope! :). Just trying to understand why someone would want a quill. I dont see any real advantages other than a quick one bolt height change. How often does that take place???

Also, I have never seen an open face quill as someone eluded to here.

One other point. A rider is much more likely to try out many different stems to get the right one if it only take 3 minutes to swap. With a quill set up you have to unwrap tape, take off brake levers, untape cables, slide bars out, slide new bars in, install brake levers, tape cables, retape handlebars. This takes roughly 30 minutes or more for the inexperienced! How likely are you to "pop" on a different stem to try it out with an installation so tedious???

The advantages are HUGE! Its not hype grandpas!
Open face Quilllaffeaux
Jul 9, 2002 2:24 PM
I have a quill stem on my bike, and I won't argue it's better or not, but it just happens to work really well with the threaded headset and fork that are on the bike.

In any case, Salsa makes an open faced quill stem. The greatest feature of threadless stems is the open-face design. Anyone that buys a traditional closed face quill stem is more concerned with aesthetics than performance. I'd never consider a non open faced stem, regardless of quill or threadless.
re : Why someone would want a quill...SteveO
Jul 10, 2002 8:09 AM
because i currently have a quill, and I'd rather not spend money on something 'new' to replace something that works.

30 minutes to replace a bar? Maybe in 1980. Open-faced quills are QUICKER to replace bars than threadless.
Old guy here - please explain the advantages againNessism
Jul 10, 2002 8:10 AM
Low stem weight you say - don't forget the steerer tube is longer which offsets the stem weight.

Open face design you say - open face quill stems are available: 3T 2001, 3T Mutant, Salsa SUL, Profile, ect.

Easy headset adjustment on the road - true but when was the last time you needed to adjust your headset on the road?

Stiffness is better you say - true although I don't feel this is a serious issue for most people.

The main advantage that I can see regarding threadless is the possible use of a carbon steerer fork. These forks are quite a bit lighter than a steel steerer fork. Note: this is the fork, not the stem that is the advantage.

Jul 9, 2002 9:22 PM
I fully understand that change of something you have used happily for over 30 years is hard. And I sympathize with that. The thing is that threadless does save some weight, but with no disadvantage. And why would one want more weight, EVERYTHING ELSE BEING EQUAL?

Your alternative solutions to lose weight all have disadvantages. Less water creates danger of dehydration. A smaller pump is a pain in the a55 to use. Lighter shoes are either more fragile or more expensive, or both. No helmet? I am not even going to address that. Shorten the chain? No spare tube? No socks? These all sound like bad ideas to me.

If you ask a bike mechanic, you will know quill stems stuck is a fairly common problem. Threadless's a better design and it's not marketing hype. Think about it, MTBs use them universally yet MTBs are generally cheaper. Those made in Asia threadless stems can be had for as little as $10.
Jul 10, 2002 8:13 AM
(boy, i'm getting a lot of flack here for simply deciding NOT to spend money on something I dont have a need for).

I havent ridden or run with socks in 10 years
Spare tubes are a lot of weight; carry patches
Nothing wrong with shortening the chain. I'd even take it a step further to removing unused cogs.
Never gotten a pain in the ass using a small pump.
Less water only creates dehydration if you use ALL of your water. I ride with plenty of guys who pull into the parking lot, and finish their water AFTER their ride is over. rather wasteful, imo.
Weight lossNessism
Jul 9, 2002 10:53 AM
It is possible to drop some weight off a bike by going threadless but only if going with a carbon steerer fork. If a steel steerer fork is used, the advantage of a lighter stem is offset by the longer steerer tube - thus, a net weight loss of zero.

thank you!Duane Gran
Jul 9, 2002 11:36 AM
Thank you for stating it so well. As one of those 4% bodyfat folks, I don't have anything to take off my gut, so any further weight loss comes out of the bike. Sure, it may not be very significant, but then I don't see anyone volunteering to add weight to their bikes, so I think everyone appreciates lighter components (up to a point).

I wouldn't bother upgrading from quill to threadless, but given a new purchase I wouldn't hesitate to go threadless.
wow, 4%SteveO
Jul 10, 2002 8:15 AM
i wonder what that translates to my 5'10, 150lb body?

as far as 'not upgrading', that was my point.
The best of both worlds is a quill with an open face nmDave Hickey
Jul 9, 2002 7:49 AM
Have always used quills.brider
Jul 9, 2002 8:01 AM
And the issue of simplicity of swapping out stems on quills vs threadless is really only going to matter to some one who swaps out stems a lot (a trackie that goes from standard to pursuit set-up). But if you want to really take that arguement, I'd have to say that a quill is FAR easier to swap out. (1) you don't have to mess with headset adjustment AT ALL when swapping out a stem. (2) any adjustments to handlebar height can be made with just a 5mm allen wrench (try that at the rest stop on your next century).

As fro aesthetics, being a Softride guy, I really don't have much to say about this. I use a quill stem that has a rise to it. On my track bike, I use a MTB stem for the commute set-up, and an old Tioga T-bone for the track set-up.
I like them both.bnlkid
Jul 9, 2002 8:38 AM
The argument about swapping stems doesn't hold much water now that there are open face quill stems as Dave alluded to. It is my preference to have a quill stem on a steel bike with a steel fork and salsa SUL stem(the CSI rides beautifully with this setup). However, it doesn't make much sense to put a quill stem on an aluminum, or carbon fibre bike when the point is building a lightweight bike.

As far as compact geometry goes, I also like them both. They are different rides. In fact, I feel slightly more comfortable over the compact aluminum bike than the classic steel bike. It probably boils down to preference of riding style, but do not knock the compact frame unless you have ridden one and know that it doesn't work for you.
re: Never owned threadless.dzrider
Jul 9, 2002 9:14 AM
On very long rides I move my step up if my neck and shoulders hurt or down if my butt hurts. I started doing this years ago on solo tours and find it really helpful. I'm not willing to give that up to save a few grams.
re: Anybody thinking of a return to quill stems?mapei boy
Jul 9, 2002 9:53 AM
Yeah, the 1972 quilled Cinelli stem on my old lugged steel frame was a masterpiece of industrial art. I just loved staring down at the thing when I rode; and the Cinelli bars - complete with an engraving of a knight in shining armor - helped make the view even more beautiful. Now, I have a new bike, an aluminum one, with an ITM Millenium bar and stem. It's not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as the previous set-up. I'm also using four spacers to bring the bar up to a decent height. But you know what? The new bike is so much better, I don't care. That old bike, quilled stem and all, is just a quaint memory. In other words, aesthetics are nice, but performance is nicer.
why lots of standover?xcandrew
Jul 9, 2002 3:15 PM
I don't see why you need more than 0-2 cm of standover on a road bike. With your shoes on, it's more like 2-3 cm. I've never hit the top tube in 20 years of riding (0-3 cm clearance on various bikes over the years), including trail riding on my road bike. If you want a really low bar position, sure get a smaller frame.

It gets a bit ridiculous to have to use a quill stem at max height or a threadless system with lots of spacers just to get your bars 8 cm below the saddle. (I know... I have to do this with my bike because it's old and I grew a bit after I got it.) I don't know about current trends, but when I was experimenting with my fit 15 years ago, 7-8 cm of bar drop was considered low (Lemond, Hinault used something like this amount). But they used frames where they didn't have to raise their stems up to the max to place the bars at that height. In my opinion the long seatposts that are popular and the "slammed" low bars are a caricature of a real bike and usually more for looks than for function.
Jul 9, 2002 3:27 PM
Won't work with all carbon forks, as far as I know.

I do agree they look more elegant.

re: Anybody thinking of a return to quill stems?mackgoo
Jul 9, 2002 4:24 PM
I dissagree. I like them. I just went threadless and I think the whole arangement is very easy to set up. Granted the quill isn't rocket science, but I think that the threadless is a breeze.
Jul 9, 2002 6:09 PM
I have 4.5cm of standover clearance on my 54cm Colnago. The top of my saddle is 17cm (6.7inches)above the top tube. The seatpost exposure is quite modest.

The bars are 9cm below the saddle, with NO steering tube spacers, using an 84 degree, 110mm Ritchey WCS stem. Looks good and it's a very stiff setup.

I have a very comfortable position on the hoods and a horizontal back position when riding in the drops, with only a slight bend in my arms.

If you can't handle a standard setup like this you must be very old, overweight, out of shape, injured or some combination of these problems.

I actually decreased my frame size by 1cm, to expose a little more post. My last Colnago was a 55cm, with an 80 degree stem and no spacers.